Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Aides to the Ex President 2: Hair Bat

Soon enough, the acid began to kick in, and Jim became paranoid about smoking in our room, due to his obsession with the fire sprinklers mounted on the ceiling.

Thus, we sat outside, on the railing, and watched the sun go down. It was a spectacular sunset, as you can imagine, despite the fact that we were in a North Dallas strip mall wasteland, facing north, with a rather crappy looking cottonwood tree blocking our view to the west. We didn’t care—we were young men out to have a good time in a new city, a city which was going to be full of people like us for the entire weekend. We were well fed (there was a Burger King a couple of miles away), there was plenty of ice, and we were tripping our balls off. Times were good.

After a few minutes of this, a troop of guys appeared and began fooling with the lock of the room next to ours. They were obviously Lollapalooza people, so we struck up a conversation, and it didn’t take us long to discover we all lived within a few miles of each other back in Oklahoma City. This is just the sort of thing that takes on grave personal meaning when you’re on acid, so I was looking forward to spending the evening getting to know them. They wanted to get something to eat first, so we directed them to the Burger King and resumed staring into the drainage ditch across the parking lot.

When I decided to start jumping off the balcony, it was about eight o’clock. Still daylight, but you could tell with your eyes closed that it would be dark soon.

Now, this is the second story of a motel—not a huge distance to fall, but still not something that’s particularly safe to do, especially when in the grip of serious hallucinogens. However, I was in good shape, and more importantly, I was bored. Jim was muttering something about “dangerous” and “cops,” but also something about needing more ice, so I decided it would be better for him if I waited til he was gone with the ice bucket. It didn’t take long.

The balcony (which wasn’t really a balcony, but rather an upper deck that allowed access to all the upper story rooms) was situated, as I’ve said, over an asphalt parking lot. Between the asphalt parking lot and the concrete of the sidewalk around the lower rooms was a strip of grass between 18” and 24” wide. This was my aiming point. I squatted up on the railing, bounced on the balls of my feet a couple of times, and leaped.

My shoes sank a few inches into the turf, but I was spot on with my landing and didn’t even need to catch myself. My heart rate was up, and my mind seemed to be working at a much higher level. I began to think that while actually FLYING was impossible, there was still a hell of a lot of telemetry to be analyzed by merely falling. This bore further investigation, and quickly (it’s easy to get distracted).

By the time I reached the jumping off point again, Jim was back, and mixing a drink in a plastic tumbler. I suggested he’d be safer, from a mixing point of view, if he took the plastic wrapper off of it, and while he was in the bathroom restructuring I took another leap. Thump, right into the footprints of the previous jump. I was making quite a dent, and elected to move over a couple of feet.

It was hard for me to concentrate on numbers, because of all the changes in sensation going on at the time. First, watching for police was important, and complicated by the red lights at intersections up the street. Second, there really wasn’t a lot of room for me to land safely, and while physics tells us that once you’re in the air, it doesn’t REALLY matter what you’re thinking, I spent a lot of time (relatively speaking) keeping track of my limbs and center of gravity to make sure I didn’t wind up with a fucked up ankle. Finally, everything was so pretty—the trash filled field behind the fence and drainage canal had taken on a mellow evening glow, and even the car exhaust off of 35E was a pungent and authentic elegy for people going places and doing things.

So, back to the railing. Jim was there, and I couldn’t think of any way to run him off, so I caught my breath and talked to him a bit about what I was doing. Since he’s nearly as big an idiot as I was, I soon had him convinced that this wasn’t a big deal, and NEARLY had him convinced to try it himself. He drew the line at that, since one of us was going to have to drive to the hospital, and at this point we weren’t even really sure where our car was, much less where the nearest emergency room was.

I eased back up on the railing and jumped again, with the same result. I became fascinated with how deeply my feet were sinking into the earth with each jump, and wondered if the place might have a grubworm problem.

Jim was hiding in the room when I came back up, and declared that on his latest trip to the ice bin he’s seen a massive woman in flower-dotted spandex beating a child with a hairbrush. He refused to come out, under any circumstances, and warned me that it was just a matter of time til they came for me.

While this is indubitably true, I wasn’t too concerned about it at the time. I sat down on one of the beds, poured a drink, and described the results of the latest jump to him. This piqued his interest, and soon we had gone out to investigate these footprints, as well as confront his child-beating Divine.

Divine was nowhere in evidence, and the footprints were, of course, just footprints, and it was getting dark. We headed back to the room, Jim back to his usual jovial self. He told me that on my next jump, I should leave my hair down, instead of in the ponytail I was accustomed to. This seemed like a capital idea, and Jim was vastly amused by the picture it presented on my next jump.

“Man,” he said, “you looked like a goddamned hair bat jumpin’ off there!”

By this time it was nearly dark, and I was tired. I took another drink of whiskey, and decided that one final jump was in order.

[cue the music with which to foreshadow doom]

I guess I wasn’t paying much attention to my surroundings. Maybe I was more interested in the additional drag on my hair. For whatever reason, I didn’t see the car coming until I was actually in the air.

It was a fairly new sedan of some sort, silver/gray, and it was pulling into the parking spot directly in front of where I would land. My feet touched the ground just as the driver came to a halt. He’d ruined my perfect streak of landings, because as I landed I fell forward, hard, and slammed my hands down on the hood of his car. He looked up from his seat belt, saw me, and without a word backed out and drove away. Jim was laughing hysterically, of course, and I made for the room with the quickness.

Once we were safely ensconced in our room, and I was sure my hands weren’t broken, it was kind of amusing. Picture this: you’re an old encyclopedia salesman, tired from a long day of knocking on people’s doors, and ready for a room and a drink. As you pull in to your accustomed spot, a bare chested, long haired, Charles Manson lookin’ FREAK appears from literally out of nowhere and starts beating on the hood of your car. I don’t know who was more scared.

The guys from the room next door didn’t come back, or at least, didn’t knock on our door, so sometime after dark we started playing with The Egg.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Aides to the Ex President 1: Fuck a Wine Product

Sorry, kids, I know you wanted to hear more about cheap wine, but really, there's not much of a story there. The Upshot:

We drank a lot of Boone's Farm, eventually reaching the 4 minute mile mark of 17 seconds. I got older, started to get heartburn, and had to give it up.

I started that one because Rachel asked for it. I've since learned my lesson about that. Here's one that Rachel's sister wanted to see.

The summer of 92 was, as I've previously written, kind of a crazy one. I was struggling through a relationship, my first BIG, ADULT relationship, and working a lot of hours to make ends meet. All in all, it wasn't working out.

So what did I do? I took a vacation.

In September, there was a perfect storm of sorts brewing down in Dallas. Friday was the second Lollapalooza tour, the one featuring all those grunge bands who made Starbucks what it is today. Saturday was (according to Jim) some sort of big stadium rock show, most likely some Van Halen or Metallica thang. Finally, Sunday was the Dallas/Washington football game, which wasn't of real interest to me but was a sort of cultural touchstone for Jim. Thus, I got the day off work, and we were going to spend the weekend in Dallas.

As usual, things got off to a rocky start. Alethea did everything she could to prevent me from going, from oral sex to throwing crockery to crying, which was completely shocking to me as we had agreed a couple of weeks previously that she was going to stay home and work (her job at the time was kind of a weekend thing, or shift thing, so this made sense). Jim sat calmly on the porch, drank Hamms, and read the paper. As a result of all this, instead of leaving at 7am, we didn't hit the highway til nearly 4pm.

It was a beautiful day for a road trip. We had a 12 pack of Hamm's Black Label, a quart of Jim Beam, and six hits of acid. Oh, and about a hundred dollars between us. Times were good.

By the time we hit the Dallas metroplex, however, some realities were starting to sink in for me. First, we had no tickets to any of these events, and our cash situation wasn't anywhere close to sufficient for both of us to attend to begin with. Furthermore, we didn't even know where two of the events were being held (and frankly, I have my doubts that the buttrock show was even going on).

A quandary. Upon thinking about it, we were proactive enough to find a hotel quickly, some sort of LaQuinta or Red Roof Inn or somethin' like that, out in the wastelands of north Denton. We checked in, got a room on the second floor, and dropped our acid, just as the sun was going down.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Boone's Farm 2: Wine Product

After a few weekends sitting on the porch watching the grass grow, I realized that it's really difficult to actually get drunk on Boone's Farm. I didn't mind that--it was like drinking Kool Aid all night long, except sweeter and slightly carbonated (yes, these wines have a screw top). Jim, however, was (and still is) prone to...ahem...push the envelope.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The first thing that endeared Boone's to me was that there were about 10 different flavors, all named like detergents. I didn't notice it until just now, but to me, different names meant a different flavor. And since my attention span is basically non existent, I NEED different flavors if I'm going to be drinking what is essentially the same damn wine product all night long.

Sad to say, I can't recall the names of my favorite one. There was a sort of second generation of wine product back then, in retrospect very specifically geared for girls with too much self respect than to walk around with an actual wine cooler OR be caught dead with a bottle of Mad Dog/Night Train/Thunderbird.

On a side note, did you know that Night Train was referenced (either by drinking or actually mentioning) five times in the Blues Brothers movie? Yup.

Anyway, by the end of the summer Jim and I were racing to see who could finish a bottle of this stuff first. He won, always, because I just never figured out the technique, and even at $1.80 a bottle I wasn't too interested in running out early. But we fiddled around with it, making the sort of arbitrary but necessary rules that became such a part of the Land Speed Record (as it was soon dubbed) mythos.

Then came the road trip to New York, which story has done been told (I think all you regulars were on board for that one, but you can find it in the archives if you don't remember it), and upon my return I was broke enough that I didn't have any CHOICE but to drink the Boone's, and I had every reason to get just as trashed as I could.

The following spring I had managed to dig myself out of the emotional pit that I'd been in, thanks in large part to Daniel-san and a few cute girls. I was back in school, had met a crop of new people, and was in general having a good time with life again. We also ate a lot of acid back then, and since LSD didn't react well with sweet, carbonated wines like Boone's, I backed off of that in favor of big jugs of Rhine Flur wines and a lot of Jim Beam.

But the Boone's would still come out on special occasions, and actually developed into a kind of party game--two 3 person teams would compete, and the winners, well, they won. During that summer, we slowly whittled away at the record, approaching what I felt was the asymptotic time of 20 seconds.

And then, at the end of the summer, a bunch of rather unpleasant stuff happened, and I found myself basically alone once more. I went from 3 roommates to zero in less than a month, and I found that the money I'd been giving one of my roommates for rent hadn't been making it to the landlady, so I was in pretty deep with her (in fact, if the house hadn't rented for $200 a month, I probably would have been homeless).

This was the winter of the Story of Kim, the winter of bad poetry and very weird women and a general feeling that winter just wasn't going to be my season. Boone's farm dropped off the radar, because there WERE no special events, and I was too broke to care anyway.

Then I met Lexi.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Boone's Farm 1: The Great Coup of 92

It was the summer of 92 when I started drinking Boones with "Jim," and my long-ago girlfriend Alethea (for those of you playing a la casa, Alethea is the girl who cleaned out my house while I was off selling acid to military air traffic controllers). I'd had a series of problems with Alethea, culminating in what Jim still calls "The Great Coup of 92," which was so ridiculous that it seems a fitting starting point for the whole tale.

In the late winter/early spring of 92, I was dating Alethea, and Jim was dating an ex of mine named Natalie. Natalie and Alethea got along like cats and dogs, as most exes do, so when Natalie started to move into the apartment, I moved out, and in with Alethea.

This went nowhere fast, and by Memorial Day of 92 both Jim and I were ready to kill our respective females and return to the halcyon days of the summer of 91, which consisted mainly of taking acid and eating skillets full of crumbled up hamburger meat with our fingers.

Thus, we cooked up a plan. The plan was for me to move out of Alethea's apartment and in with Jim and Natalie. Then, once I was installed, Jim was going to give Natalie the boot. This was rather duplicitous of him, but hey, not my girlfriend, and I didn't have a lot of room to maneuver anyway.

Things went according to plan until about four hours in. Jim got a phone call telling him his uncle had died, and he was needed out of town for the next few days. Nothing to be done about it, but it meant that I was stuck in his apartment dealing with a sobbing Alethea and a VERY pissed off Natalie. And a pissed off Natalie was quite a handful, I assure you (when I arrived with my second load of stuff, there were broken dishes all over every floor, a six pack of beer stuck in the wall, and a screaming match like you wouldn't believe going on outside).

That night, after Jim was gone with his brother (leaving his prized 71 Buick Skylark outside) to the funeral, I spent a lot of time pondering my situation. This was interrupted regularly by threatening phone calls from Natalie, pleading phone calls from Alethea, or check-in phone calls from Jim. Towards the end of the evening, Jim began getting cold feet, and before I went to bed that night he and Natalie were provisionally back together.

Now, this wasn't what I had agreed to; Natalie was a nice girl, but VERY aggressive and outgoing, and not exactly an ideal roommate--even if Jim had been a paragon of virtue, which he certainly was not.

So, a couple of days later, I packed up all my shit again and made the long crawl back to Alethea. I missed the girl, don't get me wrong, but I really felt like this had fallen down around my ears because of the instability of the other member of the coup; but given the weird confluence of events, I can't really blame him.

The girl took me back, as you all know from SATMATC, but with a certain number of hoops to jump through in the process. All of these, in retrospect, pertained to what she considered a "normal domestic arrangement," the main one of which entailed moving out of the apartment and into an actual house, halfway across town. Jim helped me with the heavy stuff, and August of 1992 saw Alethea and I living in sin several miles away from the area that had been my home since I arrived in this benighted city.

There were some good times, granted. I don't remember where we were getting acid, but we were getting a shitload of it, and eating it all. Jim became good friends with Alethea, and for the first month or so, the three of us spent weekends on the porch, drinking cheap wine and enjoying the rest of the summer.

We all three had jobs, but not GOOD jobs, and this need to economize coupled with Alethea's sweet tooth ultimately led Jim and I to the "wine product aisle" at the Classen Liquor Store, conveniently located within walking distance of the house. My first and only love in that aisle: Boone's Farm.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Under The Weather

Promise I haven't forgotten about this--the holidays, travel, and a persistent pain in me gulliver have prevented me from even THINKING about starting something new, but I have no intention of leaving this alone for much longer. Keep checking back, folks. Thanks.